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Monday, June 25, 2007

DVD Watch: Woodenhead

Woodenhead is a New Zealand arthouse flick. The movie's website features a quote explaining:

Gert is ordered by a dump owner to deliver his beautiful mute daughter, Princess Plum, to her wedding. The two embark on a mystical journey through strange, stunning monochrome landscapes peopled with a menagerie of monsters and freaks. 28 year old Kiwi Florian Habicht could be the bastard son of Béla Tarr and Guy Maddin if his talent weren't so uniquely original. His innovative film combines a wicked sense of humour and larger-than-life characters with lush, dream-like imagery.

Which is all well and good except that Plum is not mute, the journey is hardly mystical and the menagerie of monsters is largely rounded out by a man who can apparently run faster than a pig. And if all that weren't bad enough, the next line of the quote is "The memorable soundtrack was recorded before any visuals were shot, with the actors invited to improvise their parts around it, to disturbingly dreamlike results."

The actuall results is having actors nod their heads around for minutes at a time while a poorly dubbed dialogue floats over the top. And the dialogue is pretty much crap as well, so the only dreamlike result is wondering how such an idea made its way to the screen.

Some movies exist purely because they defy so much convention that people are afraid to critique it because they look like they aren't artsy enugh. Woodenhead is such a movie. If you want to see a bizarre rendition of a fairy tale world, go rent Alice by Czech director Jan Svankmajer. Or Pan's Labryinth even. But dear god, leave this one well alone.

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